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Lewiston Library prepares to mark a milestone

LEWISTON – The Lewiston Public Library will celebrate its 25th anniversary at its current facility at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The 116-year-old library called two storefronts and a private residence its home over a nearly 90-year period before it settled into its current address at 305 S. Eighth St. in 1990 – a new, $1.5 million, 10,000-square-foot building. The move tripled its amount of space.

The Friends of the Lewiston Public Library, sponsor of Saturday’s event, invites the public to join the library staff, board of trustees and local officials in celebrating the anniversary.

Speakers will include: Library Director Jill Palermo; retired Library Director Janet Domzella, who was at the helm during the construction of, and move to, the new library; and board President Linus Ormsby.

The event also will include a flag-raising ceremony.

Historical photographs and other memorabilia will be on display and refreshments will be served. Special children’s activities are planned in the John B. Daly Children’s Room. Gift bags will be distributed to the first 100 families to arrive and there also will be a drawing for an Amazon Fire tablet.

The library’s 3,000-square-foot children’s wing was added in 1999 and named in honor of the late state senator who helped champion efforts for the new building.

On New Year’s Day, 1901, the Men’s Club of Lewiston held a Grand Social Festival and Library Reception in Moss Hall, the current Lewiston Opera Hall on Center Street. The club invited patrons to contribute at least one book to help create the community’s first library.

The Lewiston Men’s Club Library opened in 1901 in the Benjamin Cornell Building, at what is currently 469 Center St., with more than 2,000 volumes.

In 1902, it was reorganized as the Lewiston Free Library and chartered by the state. In 1908, it moved to a storefront built in 1820 by Calvin Hotchkiss, at what is currently a bakery at 535 Center St.

In 1961, it moved again, this time to a private residence at what is now 505 Center, St., built by Judge William Hotchkiss in 1815. It currently houses a realty office.

Today, the library has an annual circulation of around 89,000 items, including books, magazines, newspapers, compact discs and DVDs. It also offers computer access, digital magazines, audio and e-books, genealogical services, and space for tax services, books clubs and other community events.